Sheriff Clarke Lays The Smack Down On The Local Newspaper
So who do you think carries more weight around town: Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke or the local newspaper?
I know that the old saying suggests that you shouldn't pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. Still, if you're asking me who swings a bigger stick when it comes to public opinion, the newspaper or Clarke, my money is on Clarke.
On Thursday, the Sheriff rolled out a radio ad that encouraged law-abiding citizens to consider purchasing a firearm and learning how to use it. Predictably, this caused many of the usual suspects - including the always politically correct Mayor of the City of Milwaukee - to freak out.
Clarke's position also led to some of the most overtly biased news coverage this town has ever seen (and that's saying something).
In any event, the guy in charge of the Editorial Page for the local newspaper - obviously channeling his predecessor - has weighed in with a piece entitled "Sheriff David Clarke: Grandstander first, lawman second". In the article, the author incorrectly suggests that Clarke is calling for vigilantism and argues that "the last thing Milwaukee County needs is more guns on the street". Clarke is also accused of making irresponsible statements to get "another few minutes spouting off on the radio shows".
Anyhow, Sheriff Clarke has responded. Here's what he has to say:
" It is a shame that David Haynes of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper editorial board has resorted to name calling and doing everything he can to stifle views that differ from his own on crime and gun control in his latest "destroy the messenger" editorial, "Sheriff David Clarke: Grandstander first, lawman second."
Never have I seen a local radio ad make a newspaper editorial board editor come so unglued. ... My, how far Haynes and his board have strayed from standards of journalistic integrity.
In fact, I find it sad commentary on the state of American journalism. Dissent is healthy in America's representative government. It is ok to disagree with my position on crime and violence, but my views still deserve an airing in our public discourse and are still worthy of debate and discussion by Mr. Haynes and anyone else interested. Haynes makes no intellectually-based argument. He apparently does not like the fact that I have found ways around his censoring of my opposing viewpoints. ...
... Talk radio has been a game changer in public discourse. Thank God. Mr. Haynes needs to realize quickly that no longer can he squelch views that run counter to his and those of his board. In today's e-world, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is no longer the on;ly game in town, nor the only way that people can obtain news information. He no longer controls what people say or get to hear. He needs to get used to it. If the Milwaukee Journal wants to remain relevant in the public square, then Haynes better adapt. lest he suffer the same fate as the dinosaur."
I don't interpret Clarke's ad as encouraging people not to call police. I simply think he's suggesting that police can't be everywhere and that citizens might want to consider learning how to use a firearm in case they might ever need one.
Regardless, the Sheriff obviously feels strongly about this matter and is obviously not afraid of tangling with the local newspaper. As a matter of fact, I think you can say that Clarke has pretty much laid the smack down on his critics.
He might have even left a mark! " ... the same fate as the dinosaur" indeed!